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Prince Harry what "closer" to King Charles than William in childhood—Diana

Princess Diana said Prince Harry “is actually closer to his father than perhaps William at the moment” at the time she cooperated with a 1992 biography.

Prince Harry and Prince William’s rivalry took center stage in Harry’s book Savereleased in January 2023, which revealed resentment at the hierarchy between the brothers.

Charles and Harry’s relationship in childhood is though, at times, painted in sympathetic terms.

Princess Diana described a close bond between father and son during Harry’s early childhood—though at an age not covered in Savewhich begins with Diana’s death.

A transcript of tape recordings she made for her biographer Andrew Morton, included in later editions of his 1992 book Diana: Her True Storyshow Charles was initially disappointed not to have a daughter.

“Harry arrived,” she said. “Harry had red hair, Harry was a boy. First comment was: ‘Oh God, it’s a boy,’ second comment: ‘and he’s even got red hair.’

“Something inside knew me closed off. By then I he had gone back to his lady [Camilla, now the Queen Consort] but somehow we’d managed to have Harry.

“Harry was a complete joy and is actually closer to his father than perhaps William at the moment.”

Elsewhere on the Morton tapes, she said: “Harry was supposed to be a girl. [Charles] was absolutely amazed and he adores him.”

“[Charles] loved the nursery life,” she said, “and couldn’t wait to get back and do the bottle and everything. He was very good, he always came back and fed the baby. I [breast] fed William for three weeks and Harry for eleven weeks.”

Diana’s comments are particularly striking because so much of her account of Charles in the Morton tapes is searingly critical, painting her then husband as indifferent to the collapse in her mental health.

Charles’ portrayal in Save is mixed, with Harry saying his father did not hug him at the point he told Harry that Princess Diana had died.

“Pa didn’t hug me,” he wrote. “He wasn’t great at showing emotions under normal circumstances, how could he be expected to show them in such a crisis? But his hand did fall once more on my knee and he said: ‘It’s going to be OK.’

“That was quite a lot for him. Fatherly, hopeful, kind. And so very untrue. He stood and left. I don’t recall how I knew that he’d already been in the other room, that he’d already told Willy, but I knew.

“I lay there, or sat there. I didn’t get up. I didn’t bathe, didn’t pee. Didn’t get dressed. Didn’t call out to Willy or [his nanny] mable. After decades of working to reconstruct that morning I’ve come to one inescapable conclusion: I must’ve stayed in that room, saying nothing, seeing no one, until nine .. sharp, when the piper began to play outside.”

However, in other places Charles comes across more sympathetically, taking care of his son in the years after Diana’s death.

“He’d always given an air of being not quite ready for parenthood,” Harry wrote, “the responsibilities, the patience, the time. Even he, though a proud man, would’ve admitted as much.

“But single parenthood? Pa was never made for that. To be fair, he tried. Evenings, I’d shout downstairs: Going to bed, Pa!

“He’d always shout back cheerfully: I’ll be there shortly, darling boy! True to his word, minutes later he’d be sitting on the edge of my bed. He never forgot that I didn’t like the dark, so he’d gently tickle my face until I fell asleep.

“I have the fondest memories of his hands on my cheeks, my forehead, then waking to find him gone, magically, the door always considerately left open a crack.”

Jack Royston is chief royal correspondent for Newsweek, based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jack_royston and read his stories on Newsweek‘s The Royals Facebook page.

Princess Diana said Prince Harry “is actually closer to his father than perhaps William at the moment” at the time she cooperated with a 1992 biography.

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